La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo …



Colonna, Francesco.


La Hypnerotomachia di Poliphilo …


Venice: The Sons of Aldus,




One of the crowning glories of the early Aldine Press was the magnificent Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, shown in the Pressing Business section of this exhibition. Other than a new Italian titlepage and the substitution of Roman initials for woodcut initials, this is a virtual reprint of the 1499 edition.

All but six woodcuts from the original edition reappear here, and the crispness of the impressions after fifty years of disuse is remarkable. The original woodblocks, all but a half-dozen in good condition, had been found in storage at San Stephano in 1544. The decision to reprint the Poliphilo may be a reflection of a growing audience of collectors in the mid-16th century who were already demanding the “greatest hits” of the Aldine Press.


From the collection of T. Kimball Brooker.